Walter Loeb is a New York-based consultant, long-time retail expert, and member of the NRF Board of Directors that authors a regular installment in STORES magazine (www.stores.org). Despite his apparent age (from his pic in the May 2009 edition) he offered some expert insight into reaching today's teens (tomorrow's freshmen). No judging a book by its cover....
Summarizing his thoughts:
1. Gen Y is not Gen X
Gen X was well defined, but Gen Y is more ellusive. They are intensely dedicated to their peer-group and circle of friends--even beyond their parents. And once something is approved by their posse (likely via sharing pics by txt msg or Facebook walls), it's 'in'.
2. In's and Out's change quickly
Yesterday's Juicy Couture and Abercrombie & Fitch is today's Forever 21 and Aeropostale. To some extent, these are the usual top picks trading the highest positions on the list. But in a tight economy, it's important to note that these teens move like a flock of birds and quickly take their much-sought-after spending power with them.
3. Everthing has to Pop!
You have to be up on your pop culture to be a part of their scene. So be vigilent and fast!
4. Keep it real
This crowd is, like some of its predecessors, appreciative of openness and honesty from its retailers and socially conscious. Do the right thing and tell them about it. If you gain their approval rating, it will pay off for you in the end.
~The Retail Muse